Liverpool Sound City is taking the city’s music brand around the world – by launching the Middle East’s first major music conference and festival..
The Sound City extravaganza closed in the city on Saturday night after attracting thousands of people to four days of gigs and seminars about the music business.
Now conference organisers have revealed they will be taking Merseyside bands and music business to the United Arab Emirates for Dubai Sound City in November – under the slogan Sheikh, Rattle and Roll.
They say they want to sell Merseyside bands and music businesses to an audience from as far afield as South Africa and Australia.
Liverpool Sound City festival director Dave Pichilingi said he hoped the three-day music festival and a two-day music conference event would become an annual fixture in the emirate’s cultural calendar.
He said: “We aim to take over 25 key UK and American artists and 50 keynote speakers to take part in the conference.
“The aim would be to draw in business from countries such as South Africa, Australia, Japan and other areas within three or four hours’ flying time of Dubai. The city is a hub for the rest of the world. It’ll be similar to the way we’ve done it here. By day we’ll discuss the issues affecting the industry and by night we’ll put on events.
“We want to take bands from Merseyside as well, because this has come from Liverpool Sound City.
“The aim would also be to take businesses from the region so they form part of the business element of the event. We want to help them find opportunities not just in and around Liverpool, but also nationally and internationally.
“The Sound City brand will be doing these two festivals a year heavily supporting the Merseyside region.”
Sound City may be best- known for its gigs , with this year’s line-up boasting bands from The Zutons to chart-toppers White Lies, but its organisers also want to use the conference to support the Merseyside music industry by bringing some of the entertainment world’s key players to the region.
This year’s Liverpool conference – called Starmakers, Chameleons, Mavericks and Svengalis – included debates on the future of the UK music industry and subjects from publishing to broadcasting. It was held at the Hard Day’s Night hotel and attended by delegates from companies including Universal Music and Google.
On Saturday the whole music business was put “on trial” at St George’s Hall, with music industry figures quizzed in front of a jury of young musicians.
Liverpool Sound City will run the Middle East event in partnership with Dubai’s New Dawn Entertainment and sponsors UK Trade & Investment. It will be held in the city’s prestigious Hotel Meridien.
Dubai may not be known as a rock city, but its rulers are keen to promote it as a cultural centre as well as a commercial one.
Mr Pichilingi said Sound City would not just be promoting rock or dance music but would showcase acts from around the world.
He said: “We’re not going to homogenise it. We’re going to embrace other cultures and musical styles. It’s not a case of us just taking rock out there and giving it to them.”
Mr Pichilingi said Dubai was ideally sited for a world music conference.
He said: “If you think back 40 years, why did they put international music festival MIDEM in Cannes? Was it because the music business was there? No, it was because Cannes was such a beautiful place to go.
“Today Dubai is the place to go. We want to take people out there with the aim of doing business, but it’s also fun in the sun. Our strapline is going to be Sheikh, Rattle and Roll.”
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